For the third time, a federal judge has upheld the provisions of the Affordable Care Act relating to the individual mandate. This time, the lawsuit was brought in Virginia by Liberty University.
US District Judge Norman Moon dismissed the lawsuit and held that Congress has the authority to impose a penalty on anyone who does not maintain the minimum standard of coverage beginning January 1, 2014. Ruling text here (PDF).
For the reasons provided below, I hold that Congress acted in accordance with its constitutionally delegated powers under the Commerce Clause when it passed the employer and individual coverage provisions of the Act, and I will dismiss Count One. Because I find that the employer and individual coverage provisions are within Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause, it is unnecessary to consider whether the provisions would be constitutional exercises of power pursuant to the General Welfare Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause.
After affirming Congressional authority to regulate the business of insurance, the court further found that there was "a rational basis for Congress to conclude that individuals' decisions about how and when to pay for health care are activities that in the aggregate substantially affect the interstate health care market." Further, Judge Moon concluded that "failure to regulate the uninsured would undercut the Act's larger regulatory scheme for the interstate health care market."
Michigan and Virginia down, several more to go, including Florida.